Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Lamb and Me :)

This blog is almost full with animals now :P. If I can eat the mighty horse why not the tiny little lamb?? LOL that sounds evil-y carnivorous. I am nothing but a chicken lover who does not MIND trying new meat, not just meat any new food in that case. I have never shut myself from the mysterious asparagus or Brussels sprouts or the onion look-alike fennel. These vegetables are tried and tested and accepted in my kitchen and they some how find a way into mama's tummy too. I am still on my way trying every lettuce variety possible since Geneva is full of it.

Lamb/agneu is a very famous meat here, next to beef. This particular meat is something we kept avoiding for a very long time. That is mainly due to our hatred for the goat meat, its always linked together if I am not wrong. Mutton as in is a bit more chewy for our taste and hence we never brought it even in Chennai. I love mutton biriyani without the pieces, yes I am a no-mutton-pieces-mutton biriyani person, the KUSKA person back home. Mama is ok with the mutton paya for his appam at Midnight masala restaurent right there in kodambakkam, no other paya impressed him like that one did. Other than these two dishes mutton is no way our favorite.

The rack looked much elegant :(

When mama lived in Geneva all alone and happy he had the chance of eating out a lot, which he thinks were not successful  Of course he has no idea what to order HERE, I do with all the TLC experience. :D. He once told me that he ate Lamb at cafe des sources and loved it( one of time HIT). He also told me that he would take me there once I come to Geneva. Which you all know NEVER happened. I only half blame mama here, with Babbi awake eating outside is a nightmare especially in restaurants. She will never sit in her stroller( wigging, crying, biting the belt)  and let us enjoy food for starters and then she will want to get down, pull the table cloth, hold the fork, play with the knife and mess with the interior decorations. We are always left with take away and that sucks, the outside feel is always missed.

My first taste of lamb happened to be the Doner kabab from Istanbul and I will kill to have some more. I am that crazy about doner kababs and Istanbul is the BEST of them all. I have to tell here that I had no clue about the taste of lamb, I was more than excited to eat than to distinguish anything inside the wrap. I mostly stick to chicken kabab wrap if possible, so does mama. We did not find any difference between the two meats though.

Since I am much more spirited in terms of food, I had my eyes on the lamb section for my own cooking experiment someday. It looked like I had to make one for myself to see how it tastes and feels like. The rack of lamb being the most expensive cut is the most enjoyed form of lamb here.

Fortunately a sale was on few months back and I got a small rack of lamb and proudly brought it home. It was the first time I tried cooking fennel and both turned out pretty good. I prefer cooking vegetables along with any protein and some times even with fish.

The veggies!!

I play a lot with the marinate but I strictly stick to making spicier versions because mama hates sweet meat. With a simple marinate I cooked lamb for the first time. I had to read numerous blogs to really understand what I wanted out of it and how it will taste. I had to slightly cook it before I placed it inside the oven to grill. It is a general fact that the color of the cooked meat must be pink (really have no idea what PINK) but I felt it was under cooked in that color and let it sit for some more time. I really don't mind over cooking meat sometimes rather than killing myself with some bacteria.

Since I had no idea how these things actually taste in restaurants what I made tasted great to me. Mama  too liked it and Babbi was much too small to know what was going on.

Months later a day popped up in my life that really brought back so many memories. Amma was on skype as usual and all of a sudden she asked me if I need my microwave anymore. I am so pathetic sometimes, when I got married I was very stubborn about buying a new microwave for my baking and usual heating. Mama had to buy me a huge glossy black Samsung microwave which costed around 12k in 2010. Along with it came a small recipe book which was something to me. It was officially my first recipe book other then the one I was writing. I had bookmarked some of the recipes to try and was quiet successful with them. There was one recipe that I wanted to try so badly but I  hesitated a lot considering the meat used : mutton. But it stayed in my mind all the time and when amma kindled the memory back I felt the need to make it. Now that I am more of an experimental cook I need to know how it tastes like.

The sambar look :)

The famous Hyderabadi Dal ghost is the dish in question. I remember buying my first packet of masoor dal after reading the recipe assuming that I would cook it back in Chennai. I have never seen my amma buying a packet of it and I did not know what to do with it. Seems like it has its own set of dishes that really amused me with taste. Then it became a regular in my kitchen cabinet and now Babbi also eats it as one of her 'dal' of the day. 

Split red lentil aka Masoor dal

The meat which never happened two years back had to happen now. I had to tell mama my plans since we were shopping together that weekend. He is well know to select the best meat from the lot. Even though we liked the lamb rack we did want to have more of it quiet often so when I told mama about dal ghost he was really not interested. He asked me if I really wanted it. Suddenly out of curiosity he asked me what it is. I just told him it is "mutton sambar". 

Just minutes later I lost mama and the stroller he was pushing. I waited for some time and really felt lost, maybe I went out of radius. I started looking for mama and there he was standing right in front of the lamb section looking for the best pack.

The juicy lamb pieces need limelight

That is when it struck me, SAMBAR has jinxed him for life. He was very serious about the search and finally I get to decide which cut I wanted. I got 450 grams of boneless meat, juicy and fresh back home with a proud face. Mama with a much happier face gladly allowed me to make Sambar, it was not even Friday and he knew I will make some on Friday too. The joy is in-explainable. 

I divided the meat into two. One for dal ghost and one for some mutton cutlets to go with the gravy. I cut the meat for dal ghost into tiny pieces so that it will look more appetizing. 

Cutlets : no deep fried, no guilty

I followed Sanjeev kapoor's recipe like bible except for the half teaspoon sugar which I felt was not necessary and the dish was not very spicy actually. If there was one ingredient I felt made the dish for me was the lemon juice. I also pressure cooked the meat to make it more soft. 

The fresh taste of the dish will remain in my heart forever. Since mama and I were in a not-talking-post- fight mood it was impossible to ask him if he liked it. I had to let it pass to my dismay.

As in for the cutlets, it is a piece of cake. The recipe is written everywhere in my head and pulling it out was nothing but easy. I liked the combination , it worked well for me. Ofcourse I had no idea what mama thought. His frowny-big-face did not give up any information and that made me very sad. He did take more than two servings of dal ghost and at least five of those cutlets which means he liked it but still :(

It was crispy :)
Next day after the patch-up phase things were looking good in terms of talking for the both of us. All of a sudden mama said " I loved the dal ghost, it was very nice"

There you go I felt like jumping here and there. He has never commented about the food until I asked him  for and  remembering it the next day was a one time life experience. Having had two jackpots in one single day I celebrated with some dal tadka ( he hates it!!! LOL) on Friday. You cant expect me to eat sambar two times a week :P

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